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Journey to the Homeland Tour 2009 Photos

Journey to the Homeland Tour
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo, North Dakota


Visit to the Former German Villages of Neu-Strymba, Strymben, Alt-Sarata and Scholtoinear Kischinev, Moldova, May 23 2009.

Photographs and text by Janet and Leroy Damm


Dr. Sergey Yelizarov (guide/translator) used a compass and a map to find the following villages.  Our driver’s name was Valerie and he had to watch closely to avoid potholes that could swallow half a tire.  He avoided these holes by swerving wildly into oncoming traffic or driving on the shoulder near the ditch.  All the highways are lined with walnut trees and elaborate memorials (more ornate then those found in the US) to victims of auto accidents.  Away from the bigger cities there were not highway signs to guide us.  In Moldova they speak Rumanian, Russian and Ukrainian.  Russians and Ukrainians can understand each other if they choose to.  Signs are in Romanian and Cyrillic.  Moldova is known for wine.  Alla Chastina of the TABARD Company (http://www.bessarabia.ru/) contacted me through Sergey to arrange a meeting in the Kischinew/Chisinau Archives.  Four days before we left for “The Homeland” Alla emailed me to say “Sorry, but the National Archive will be closed for some reparations during next two weeks.  So I will not prepare the documents for you.”  Sergey commented, “Yes Janet, that’s our reality…..”  On the first day we drove from Odessa to Chisinau 200 km or 120 miles and Chisinau to Strembeni 80 km or 48 miles.  The second day we drove from Chisinau through Balti/Belcy/Belllz to Neu-Strymba and Sholtoi and back to Chisinau for a total of more than 2,580 km or 250 miles.  Here is a map made by Sergey with a few variations in spelling:

Click here for Map

Strembeni:  Sergey asked an old man on the street about any knowledge of Germans in the village.  He showed us a German style house and wasn’t aware of any Germans in the cemetery.  Sergey talked to another man on the street and he happened to be the Mayor whose name was also Serge.  He then introduced us to a couple who had Germans stay with them during previous visits of Germans from Germany to this village.  We were invited into the home of Peter and Tamara Makar to taste their homemade wine and visit.  They gave us the address of their daughter who lives and works in Germany as a translator.  She may have more information for us.  To our surprise they had a computer and were on the internet!  Then the Mayor, Serge (?) invited us to his office in the city hall building.  He also showed us a German constructed well nearby and told us of plans to renew the landscaping around city hall which includes a tiled pond. 

Neu Strymba:  We stayed the night in Kischinew/Chisinau.  We spent the better part of the second day trying to find Neu-Strymba.  Spoke to between 10 and 20 people before we found out any information about where Neu-Strymba might be located.  Grynautsy is now what Neu-Strymba is called and none but the oldest person knew it by the old name.  We were told that 117 German families left was married to a Russian woman.  Fedor Demchenko lead us to the home of Fedor Atamanuck.  Atamanuck was dressed in his beekeeper’s outfit when we walked into his backyard wheich was full of bee hives aligned in tidy rows.  Demchenko came up with the name of Jacob Wagner and a Gross without any prodding from us and said he remembers hearing of them.  Wagner and Gross are ancestral names from this village.  Fedor Atamanuck’s wife came out of the house with a book of addresses which we photographed.  Vladimir Schtchuka, and Ulyka Baagumyr (sp?) helped Atamanuck construct the memorial to the Germans in the cemetery.  As one is standing in the cemetery looking past the back metal fence there is a 6-7 foot high patch of bushes and this is where they said the German Cemetery is.  It was very overgrown and there are probably no headstones.  A more tidy photo from a previous visit can be found at this website: (http://priv.fotobild-thueringen.de/Strymba.html)

SholtoiWe took a dirt road toward a small lake and there clinging to the shore was Sholtoi.  One lane with a row of houses on either side was all there was and the map from 1920 showed not much had changed.  As with all the other villages we visited, people came out to see what was going on.  One man got in the car and guided us near the cemetery.  We parked at the bottom of the hill where they said the Luutheran church had been and walked up the hill to the cemetery.  Here we found a memorial that said “Rest in God Germans of Scholtoi”.  Since arriving home I have found a wonderful German website for the village.  (http://scholtoi.de/index_en.html
(http://www.scholtoi.de/PDF/ScholtoiFamilien.pdf)  
(http://www.scholtoi.de/Besuch2008.html)
Other websites I have found since returning from Journey to the Homeland 2009.
http://www.danube-exodus.hu/en/main.php3?topic=2
http://www.grhs.org/rig/bess/newsletters/bessarabian/bess1-3.pdf

Strymbeni-Peter & Tamara Makar
Balti (pron.Beltz) new church
Kischinew
Kischinew
Kischinew
Kischinew
Kischinew hotel
Moldova cart
Neu Strymba
Neu Strymba
Neu Strymba
Neu Strymba
Neu Strymba
Neu Strymba
Neu Strymba address
Neu Strymba address
Neu Strymba address
Neu Stryba address
Neu Strymba address
Neu Strymba cemetery
Neu Strymba cemetery
Neu Strymba cemetery
Neu Strymba cemetery
Neu Strymba cemetery
Neu Strymba cemetery
Neu Strymba cemetery
Neu Strymba new construction
Neu Strymba resident
Neu Strymba well
Neu strymba well
Scholtoi cem coffin carrier
Scholtoi cem gfr mem.
Scholtoi cemetery
Scholtoi cemetery
Scholtoi cemetery
Scholtoi cemetery view
Strymbeni
Strylmbeni Cememtery
Strylmbeni Cememtery
Strymbeni Cemetery Chapel
Strmbeni-German constr. well
Strybeni German style house
Strybeni house decoration
Strymbeni old construction
Strymbeni old ocnstructioin
Strymbeni old construction
Strymbeni resident
Strymbeni resident
Strymbeni roadside
Strymbeni roadside
Strymbeni well
Strymbeni, view from

   

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller
North Dakota State University Libraries
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
Libraries
NDSU Dept #2080
PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Tel: 701-231-8416
Fax: 701-231-6128
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Director: Michael M. Miller
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